Mini-Contest: Write Your Own Rejection Letter

by | May 19, 2011 | Rejection, Writer's Relief | 18 comments

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Deadline: Thursday, February 16th

Writers: We had so much fun with our rejection-letter Facebook post that we wanted to up the ante and create a fun little contest here on our blog.

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. Our staff selected Ruth Livingstone as the winner. Thanks to all for making this contest so much fun!

Writing prompt: Write your own imaginary rejection letter. You don’t have to write it as if you’re rejecting yourself. Just pretend you’re an editor of a literary journal or pretend you’re a literary agent, and write a rejection letter to send to the writers who query you. Have fun!

Our favorite rejection letter will receive a free Writer’s Relief T-shirt!

We’ll be picking the winner on Monday (May 23).

Please use the buttons below to tell your friends about this fun contest.

To enter your rejection letter, click LEAVE A COMMENT  on this post.

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  1. Terry

    Dear Writer,

    ee cummingS

  2. Mary Diane Hausman

    Dear Mr. Zippie the Pinhead,

    Thank you for thinking of Zombies and Kittens for consideration of your poem entitled, “Cats Eat Brains Too.” While your work is stimulating, provocative, and well, to be honest, wonderfully disgusting, we feel it does not quite fit with our journal’s more humorously horrific, and honest content.

    We can offer suggestions, however, and hope you will consider submitting to us in the future, assuming your own brains are intact, or at least still contained in your skull.

    For your line,
    “Love to eat them mousies, mousies what I love to eat,
    Bite they little heads off, nibble on they tiny feet.”

    We suggest:
    “Love to suck them mouse brains, mouse brains make me grow,
    I line those little mouse heads up and suck until they flow.
    I share them with my zombie friends and we all have a ball,
    Sucking juicy brain food and watching us grow tall.”

    We also suggest that, if you have not already, you practice your content experientialy in order to present your reader with the honesty that is currently missing from your poetry.

    Bastet Felinious,
    Editor in Chief,
    Zombies and Kittens

  3. Cynthia Armes

    Dear Ms. Writer on the Fly

    We found your short story “Reject Me,” to be one of the most provocative stories we have read in decades since we started this journal but unfortunately due to the mediocrity we publish, we cannot accept it at this time. It might make our journal too literary and we might lose our general readership.

    Perhaps if you rewrote it to include a space station, lesbian aliens, and the sort. Of course, that would change your story entirely but the title could still work.

    The editors of Space Age Fiction.

  4. Alan W. Jankowski

    Dear Potential Contributor,

    Let me start off by saying that our editorial staff has been giving your submitted manuscript the utmost in careful consideration for the past few weeks now. After what we consider a rather extensive review of your submission, we do however have one problem. Our editors have been unable to determine what language your submission is written in. Let me add that our staff is well-versed in all the popular languages, including Text-speak, Urban Slang, Prison Talk, Animal Noises, Hillbilly, and the ever popular Language of the Llamas. If you could please re-submit your document in a language that might be a bit more “accessible” to our readers, we may find it in our hearts to reconsider it. In the meantime, best of luck in your future writings.

    Kindest Regards,
    I.M. Clueless
    Executive Editor

  5. Paul Snyder

    Dear Terry:
    As if your name was not already confusing enough, your story, characters, timeline, antagonist, protagonist, opening, inciting incident, premise, climax, and ending all leave one wondering what combination of experimental therapies you must have had done to you. Sure, we at the Society for non-working writers(SNWW)are all for a frontal Lobotomy, or shock treatment. But you started playing god, and that is where we draw the line.
    Your miss use of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and exclamation points would have been fine, were it not for the racist overtones, excessive rhetoric, and boorish manner. Never in the 3 days that I have been employed as a reader for the SNWW have I been so bored with material. Banal, anal,slow and inconsistent are the best things I have to say about your script.
    Our advice to you is to give up. Find another hobby that does not require creativity, motivation, or writing. A cease and desist, followed by a restraining order will follow this correspondence. You have been unfriended on Facebook, unfollowed on Twitter, buried on Digg, banished on Linked In. Along with that will be a check for $10,000.00 to never write anything ever again or to submit anything written to anybody, anywhere, ever again for the remainder of your life.

    Thank you for your interest in SNWW, and we look forward to never hearing from you ever again.

    Best Wishes
    DJ Zeos

  6. Amanda Taylor

    Dear Born To Write,

    Upon receiving your submission for your work we have found several problems with it and with you as the author. Unfortunately we cannot publish your book on such circumstances.

    First of all, you, the writer, are under the legal age of writing a manuscript which is 35 in which you were only 16 when you had written this story. We cannot publish anything written by a minor without facing repercussions with the federal government regardless of parental consent. Secondly, you must be at least 40 to be eligible to submit and to be at the legal publishing age, and alas you are only 21. Twenty-one is the legal drinking age, but alas it doesn’t not work for the publishing industry. Our publishing house could face major fines, federal penalties, and our editors could face many years of jail time for publishing a book written and submitted by a minor regardless of parental consent.

    The story is very well written, but it has several problems with it. One, it doesn’t have enough literary content and elements. It’s too fun, too imaginary, and it is not literary perfection, so we cannot fit it into our normal and boring literary pool, and it is damaging to our reputation that we have with our readers. Second, it has too much action and adventure; the adventure and action is constant from nearly beginning to end. This also pulls it away from literary perfection which makes books more boring and mediocre. These elements also demonstrate a book written by a minor which aforementioned is a federal crime to publish. Thirdly, the plot is too developed and has direction. The books that fit our guidelines have indeterminable or nonexistent plots or the plots have no direction with all the great literary elements and a touch of action.

    In conclusion, wait about fourteen years and rewrite the entire story and remove most of the action, imagery, and plot direction and replace with more literary elements. The title also must be toned down and changed, it’s too exciting too. Never mention that you began this book at 16 or we will be unable to publish it when your turn 40 and resubmit at the appropriate age. Good luck to your writing future.

    Best Regards,
    Iam Mediocre
    Chief Editor
    Bored to Tears Publishing

  7. Ruth Livingstone

    Dear would-be author

    Thank you for submitting your 850,000 word manuscript and for the 623 subsequent letters of enquiry. I was somewhat disappointed to receive your threat of legal action. It is not unusual for a literary agent to take 3 years to respond to a query.

    However, given your lack for patience, I handed your work to one of our summer job-experience students for analysis. The pertinent parts of her report are as follows:

    – your choice of language is interesting
    – your spelling is unique
    – the absence of punctuation lends an endearing ambivalence to the text
    – paragraphs extending over 7 pages of manuscript are unusual these days
    – we would normally expect submissions to be typed

    After due consideration, I have decided to decline your kind invitation to be your agent. I do realise I am turning down a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make my fortune.

    I suggest you submit your manuscript to another agent. Any agent. As I was unable to determine the exact genre into which your work falls, I am unable to be more specific in my advice. You might have better luck in a different country.

    Yours finally,

    Agent Smith
    Room 101
    Dustbin House.

  8. Gyppo

    Dear Writer/Scribe/Wordsmith/whatever fancy title you’ve chosen for yourself.

    My apologies if this seems a little impersonal, but it is a standard form letter which saves us from wasting unnecessary time on worthless or totally inappropriate manuscripts. This is not to say that your MS is worthless or inappropriate, because most of those we receive would at least make adequate, and sometimes even excellent fire-lighters or toilet paper substitutes. Especially those which are printed on thin paper to reduce postal costs. But most are totally unsuitable for our needs, a fact of which you would be aware had you bothered to read the submission guidelines on our website.

    Even if you had you probably lack the intelligence to follow simple instructions. You are probably blinded by a) artistic purity, b) dollar signs whizzing around your head, c) the fond belief that your ‘innovative’ pap is in some way exempt from the rules concerning good grammar, spelling, and indeed merit.

    Our website cost us a lot of money. Money which could have been better spent on fine wine, excellent cigars, epicurean meals, and even – yes we do sometimes! – on publishing the one in ten thousand scripts which are worth bothering with.

    We apologise for not naming your book in this response, but that is because this is a totally generic reply.

    In fact, here at Sod Off Publishing we have embraced the latest Automatic Rejection Technology and this is a mass mailing to the entire population of Planet Earth.

    That’s right, write boy/girl. It’s pre-emptive rejection and will save us thousands of wasted man hours every year. It could save you time too, if you are willing to learn.

    Once again, thankyou for this opportunity to reject your work.

    Please don’t hesitate to write again if you feel the need to further crush your puny hopes and your fragile creative flower.

    Sod Off (Publishing)

  9. Siobhan McKinney

    Hi – thanks for the email, it was great that you submitted to us – hey that sounds kind of kinky doesn’t it? >:D We’re an agency that appreciates really getting to know our authors and I wondered if you’d send in a head shot for the author bio before we consider anything further.

    Your manuscript sucked by the way – way too original, never been done before and we really can’t take a chance with obvious talent, but hell, you can always write another one. ;-0 LOL

    I’d like to meet for coffee and we could talk some more about submission. I have all your personal details and would be able to chase you up.

    Why don’t we get together? I’ve always dreamt of being published too. Maybe you could tell me even more about yourself so I might understand you better. At Writers For Trash [WTF] we pride ourselves on the personal service and attention to detail we give to our clients.

  10. Don

    Dear Author,

    Thank you for submitting your manuscript “Suicide and a Side of Fries” for our consideration. While we agree that pairing popular food items with random acts of violence is a heretofore unexplored area of culinary literature, we must decline the opportunity to publish at this time.

    Notwithstanding the claimed success of your earlier self-published work, “Oenophiles & Pedophiles,” the numbers requisite to commit to publishing a new volume seem beyond your ability to comprehend. In addition, new authors are contractually obligated to be active participants in marketing. Given that your present circumstance is unlikely to change for twenty-five years to life, we suspect you would be unable to fulfill this requirement.

    It is with regret we opt not to publish your current offering but bear in mind that you are welcome to submit anything you feel may meet our future needs. We will keep your information on file, particularly the part about visiting days, for any on our staff who may wish to avail themselves of your offer.

    Frank Incensed
    Senior Editor
    Food & Wine Publishing Group

  11. Chris Akiki

    Dear Chris,

    We appreciate your entry in our mini-contest.

    However, your self-referential attempt at a rejection letter failed miserably, I’m afraid; it lacked originality and was simply no match for those of the other contestants who clearly invested much more time and effort into their letters.

    I regret that I must report to you that you are to refrain from participating in any further contest.


    Office mascot
    Writer’s Relief, Inc.

  12. Pam Henel

    We are rejecting your submission as it was not well researched and lacked objectivity.
    However, we would love to visit there!
    Please send us contact information so we can plan a visit.


    Your rejecting editor

  13. Chris Barraclough

    Dear [insert name of moron]

    My best friend’s tennis partner’s son, who is here on work experience for a week so I don’t have to make my own tea and read the crap that morons like you send in, considered your submission with great interest. At least he would have done if he could read. In fact, he simply threw all our daily submissions in the air and stabbed one with a letter opener as it drifted down. That person gets to spend ten pounds sending in their full manuscript, which we’ll then use to prop the door open (it gets damn hot in here in Summer).

    Sadly it was not your submission that was skewered. Good luck for the future, you’re gonna need it buddy! Bwahahahaha!

    Yours disrespectfully,

    Writers Are Morons Agency

  14. Lin Treadgold

    Dear Bunnie

    Thanks for your submission concerning your new novel ‘How to build your own Rabbit Hole’.

    Whilst we considered the title was fascinating we felt the line about the worms being driven out of their wormholes could be very off-putting to our readers. We didn’t feel that strangulation would appeal.

    The line ‘And then they smash them all to bits’ has been used many times before and we felt a more appropriate line would be to ‘bury the little critters in another plot of ground’ would be more appealing to our readers.

    I didn’t feel ‘Mole Soup’ was going to be a popular recipe with the nature conservationists as you suggested. Especially the idea of making moleskin coats for the rabbits in winter to keep them warm, was somewhat out of touch with reality. How much research did you do on this subject?

    Your suggestion for furnishings I found rather bizarre. I mean the tables and chairs down the rabbit hole, it seems you have some large rabbits in Scotland.

    I warmed to the idea of making the rabbits welcome by offering food at the door, but as we have more rabbits on the planet than humans at this moment, I wondered how necessary this act of kindness might be.

    May I suggest you re-write the whole concept again and get back to us when you find that rabbits seem to manage very well without human intervention. Good luck with this hare-raising subject, I hope you manage to find a publisher in the future.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mads Hatter

    Animal Antics

  15. Writers Relief Staff

    Thanks to everyone for your hilarious rejection letters!

    Our staff read through them, and we’ve selected Ruth Livingstone as the T-shirt winner!

    Thanks to all for making this such a fun mini-contest!

  16. Yelnick McWawa

    Dear Relief Staff,

    The following rejection letter from you in regards to my literary contribution in the recent contest bears no meritable qualities that in itself would find no place in the rejection letter contest.
    This is an automated response to your most recent posting, we will contact you as soon as some one is available.

    Writers Relief Staff says:
    May 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm
    Thanks to everyone for your hilarious rejection letters!

    Our staff read through them, and we’ve selected Ruth Livingstone as the T-shirt winner!

    Thanks to all for making this such a fun mini-contest!

    • Writers Relief Staff

      Yelnick, Thanks for the giggles! We appreciate your sense of humor!


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